neljapäev, aprill 06, 2006

Presidential Match-Up

As of today, the field of presidential candidates have broadened. Keskerakond has named Toomas Varek (see photo), a former mayor of Rakvere, as its lead candidate but also nominated fellow parliamentarian Enn Eesmaa, and Aadu Must, your classic academic/politician from Tartu whose daughter is head secretary of Kesk. Of the all, Aadu Must sounds the best, just because his punchy name reminds me of African dictators like Idi Amin.

Interestingly, Kesk, which has 25 seats in the Riigikogu, hasn't picked anybody that's on any other party's list. For example, Isamaalit named psychologist turned parliamentarian Peeter Tulviste, businessman Jaak Manitski and Toomas-Hendrik Ilves, the latter being the most interesting because he's not even a member of Isamaaliit.

Res Publica, who also has 25 votes in the Riigikogu, named Riigikogu speaker Ene Ergma, Tartu University rector Jaak Aaviksoo and Eesti Telekom CEO Jaan Männik as its candidates.

It will be interesting to see if Eesti Eest - the newly formed party merged from Isamaaliit and Res Publica will agree on a new set of candidates.

Similar names also popped up on the Reform party's list - Toomas-Hendrik Ilves, population affairs minister and poet Paul-Eerik Rummo, and Tartu mayor Laine Jänes.

Finally, the Social Democrats named Toomas-Hendrik Ilves, Jaak Aaviksoo, and parliamentarian Liina Tõnisson.

My wife thinks that the real candidates right now are Ilves and whomever Kesk names - Varek I guess, and that the rest are just done to promote politicians - she could be right. But right now I see a few "stealth" candidates, most prominently Jaak Aaviksoo. Because he is an academic and isn't in parliament, he may come out of the fray as a "compromise" candidate that everyone can agree on if strict party discipline forces Ilves - obviously the most nominated - off the table. Ergma doesn't strike me as the most ideological of the Res Publica faction, so she may also be a stealth nominee. I'll be interested in who Villu Reiljan decides to nominate for the Estonian People's Party, Rahvaliit.

We'll see.

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